[E-voting] M.I.T. strategy for internet voting, early voting, voting my mail & voting centers

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Tue Aug 29 10:15:43 IST 2006

Catherine Ansbro wrote:
> Tim,
> There is a massive amount of money being made by academic institutions 
> riding the E-voting train.  Think of the ACCURATE group which is 
> getting massive funding, another researcher recently quoted has a $1.8 
> million grant, and academic departments that are getting funding to 
> study e-voting.
> This doesn't mean it's bad for academics to study, but one also has to 
> be aware that funding recipients are also vested interests, and in 
> some cases t can make it more likely for some solutions to be studied 
> than others.  (Might it be difficult to advocate a switch to paper, 
> for example, if that would mean your department would lose funding to 
> develop or test electronic voting solutions?)
> It's the old problem of hammers being in search of nails.  Many see 
> the electronic voting issue as a technical problem that requires a 
> technical solution
You could be right in the comment that computer scientists see voting as 
a technical problem (with a technical solution),
but personally, I believe it doesn't look good to attack them as being 
biased. It would be unfair to examine closely
where one side gets its funding without doing the same to the other 
side. And I'm not sure what it achieves in any case.
As for the paper itself, it isn't signed by its authors, which is 
strange to begin with. Who knows what its status actually is.

I just scanned it briefly, and I have to say the whole idea of 
"Prinicpal agent theory" is not a very convincing model
for explaining the problems with electoral administration in the US. It 
strikes me that the biggest problem, is the lack
of economies of scale due to its highly distributed nature. Having said 
that, their ideas do need to be debated.
For example, early voting is something I would agree with, particularly 
in our system, where tactical voting is less
of a problem.

- Michael.

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